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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK
Garcia Marquez home to Colombia
Garcia Marquez and his wife Mercedes Barcha arrive at Aracataca
Aracataca inspired Garcia Marquez's most famous novel
Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has returned to his Colombian home town for the first time in more than 20 years.

He was greeted by hundreds of fans as he returned to Aracataca in a train painted with yellow butterflies.

The town is said to have inspired his most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and officials hope to boost tourism through links to the author.

Garcia Marquez, who lives in Mexico City, last visited Aracataca in 1983.

'Long live Gabo'

Garcia Marquez arrived on a new train service to Aracataca from the city of Santa Marta.

Police officers pushed through cheering crowds to help the famous author, known as Gabo in Colombia, to get off the train.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his wife Mercedes Barcha
Hundreds of fans gave Garcia Marquez a rapturous welcome
He signed autographs, posed for photographs and met fans, as banner-waving admirers shouted "long live Gabo!"

He then toured the town in a horse and carriage with his wife, Mercedes Barcha.

"It wasn't as good as I expected but it was OK," a joking Garcia Marquez told Reuters news agency.

Garcia Marquez is credited with bringing the literary genre of magical realism to an international audience.

The town of Macondo in his most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, is said to be based on Aracataca, which has a population of about 53,000.

In the novel, Macondo suffers years of endless rain and an epidemic of insomnia.

Last year, local authorities failed to persuade local people to approve attempts to change Aracataca's name to Macondo

Garcia Marquez was born in the banana-growing town in 1927 and lived there until he was nine. He was inspired to create Macondo when he returned at the age of 23.

For his 80th birthday in March, Colombia's government pledged $500,000 (253,030) to rebuild his home in Aracataca, which houses a museum celebrating his life and works.

Other famous novels include "Love in the Time of Cholera" and "The General in His Labyrinth".

Garcia Marquez won the Nobel prize for literature in 1982.


SEE ALSO
Nobel laureate in Colombia talks
12 Mar 07 |  Americas
Gabriel Garcia Marquez turns 80
06 Mar 07 |  Americas
Marquez town rebuffs Macondo name
26 Jun 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Colombia
03 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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